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McManus can take it to the Aramax at Galway



Double bid: JP McManus

Double bid: JP McManus


Double bid: JP McManus

Day four of the Galway Festival features one of the longest standing sponsorships in racing with the Guinness Galway Hurdle.

While Ireland's top jumps owner JP McManus has a trio engaged, his Aramax is the selection to land the £200,000 prize, with the owner attempting to complete the big race double following Early Doors winning last night's Galway Plate.

The German-bred runner won a Grade 3 Juvenile Hurdle in March at the Cheltenham Festival and has a very nice weight while fitted with first-time cheek pieces today by trainer Gordon Elliott, while he also has the benefit of the owner's retained jockey Mark Walsh in the saddle.

Champion trainer Willie Mullins has a quintet in the race, including likely favourite Aramon with son Patrick aboard, and the possible favourite in addition to two of the three reserves - with Diamond Hill notable as a Festival winner last year if getting a run.

Tony Martin has won three of the past six renewals and Tudor City bids to repeat last year's success. Hearts Are Trumps, trained by Dessie McDonagh, loves this track and, again owned by McManus, is another danger.

British trainers Dan Skelton and Olly Murphy are represented by Fair Mountain and Hunters Call respectively.

Bear Claws, trained by Eric McNamara having been bought from Tyrone trainer Andy Oliver, gets the vote in the opener, while the locally-owned Braid Blue, bought for connections by Cullybackey-based Ian Ferguson, could open her account over fences in the Beginners' Chase for Elliott having finished runner-up at Cheltenham last October.

Galvin was lame on arrival at the course and withdrawn last night from the Plate so is unlikely to contest the novice chase, making Russian Diamond the choice, while Acclamatio gets an each way selection in the handicap hurdle.

Jon Snow can win the novice hurdle if The Very Man fails to turn out again after winning yesterday, while The Trigger could complete the hat-trick for Armagh handler Ronan McNally, with Mark Walsh replacing regular jockey Sean Flanagan, currently sidelined, in the three-mile handicap.

The Sloan family, from Templepatrick, could get on the Galway scoreboard with Smokey The Bandit in the concluding bumper.

Ulster trainers are well represented today with Dundrod trainer Paul Traynor, successful on Derby day at the Maze, represented by Lusis Naturea and Draperstown handler Noel Kelly doubly represented by Hear No Evil and Wake The Giant.

Blackwater-based James Lambe has Copia Verborum and Kagney due to run and Omagh-based Mervyn Torrens introduces newcomer Aragon in the bumper. Dromore-based Sarah Dawson has Magic Sea engaged.

Galway selections: 4.45 Bear Claws, 5.15 Braid Blue, 5.45 Russian Diamond, 6.15 Acclamatio, 6.45 Aramax, 7.15 The Very Man, 7.45 The Trigger, 8.15 Smokey The Bandit.

Belfast Telegraph